Understanding the Different Types of False Teeth

All dentures serve one purpose – to replace missing teeth. There are several types of dentures, though, and each type is unique in its own way. 

Missing teeth is a common problem in the United States and in the rest of the world. Approximately 120 million American adults are missing at least one tooth, and about 36 million are missing all their teeth. Lost teeth are a cosmetic issue, but missing teeth can also prevent you from eating well and lost teeth can lead to other dental issues. Missing teeth can change the shape of your face too, making you look older than you really are. 

About nine out of 10 people who are missing all their teeth wear dentures. A growing number of Americans are choosing dental implants, which are more comfortable, natural-looking and affordable. 

Advances in dental technology have improved all types of dentures; today’s false teeth look more natural than ever before, and they are more durable and functional. Thanks to these advancements, our Las Cruces dentists can now offer several types of dentures that can help restore your smile. 

Types of False Teeth

Full dentures

Traditional full dentures are what you probably envision when you think of false teeth – a pink, gum-like base that holds a full set of artificial teeth. You can get full dentures to replace all the teeth on your upper jaw, your lower arch, or both.

Made from acrylic or porcelain, the teeth look real. The acrylic or metal base fits snugly over the ridge of your upper or lower jawbone. With acrylic dentures, you can eat, smile, laugh and talk with confidence. 

Acrylic dentures are affordable and do a good job of replacing your teeth. Perhaps the biggest drawback to acrylic dentures is that sit on top of the gum, so they can slip and slide – or even fall completely out of your mouth. You can use denture adhesive to prevent slippage.

Because they sit on top of the gums, full dentures can also allow food particles to get trapped between the denture and your gums, which can be painful. Food trapped under your denture can even lead to “hot spots,” which are sore spots on your gums. 

Dentures can also cause you to lose bone tissue from your jaw. Biting or chewing food puts pressure on your teeth. This pressure moves down your teeth, to the root, and into your jawbone. There, pressure stimulates bone remodeling, a natural process in which bone tissue breaks down and builds back up. Without this pressure and stimulation, your jawbone stops building itself back up; as the result, your jawbone loses its shape and strength. 

With proper care, your full dentures can last for 5 to 10 years or longer. Proper care includes brushing with a soft toothbrush and gentle toothpaste, and overnight soaking in a solution made for dentures.

Partial dentures

Partial dentures are similar to full dentures, but partial dentures replace only a few teeth, rather than the entire arch. Partials can replace teeth on either the upper or lower jaw.

Made from either a metal base and acrylic teeth or completely from acrylic, your partial denture is customized to fit your specific anatomy and personal needs. 

Partial dentures present the same drawbacks as full dentures: they may slip out of place, they do not stimulate bone remodeling, and they can allow food debris to become trapped. 


All-on-four is a type of denture permanently bonded onto dental implants, which are metal posts surgically placed in your jaw. Think of all-on-four as being halfway between a conventional denture and a dental implant. 

To create an all-on-four denture, your dentist implants four titanium posts into your upper or lower jaw. In a process known as osseointegration, the bone tissue in your jaw permanently fuses with the metal posts to create a sturdy anchor. Once the process of osseointegration is complete, which usually takes several weeks to a few months, your dentist bonds a complete denture to the implants. 

Also known as all-on-4, all-on-four dentures are different from single dental implants that replace just one tooth. Instead, the all-on-4 denture replaces all of the teeth on the upper or lower jaw

All-on-four have all the convenience of dentures, but without many of the drawbacks. The all-on-four denture looks and functions like real teeth, for example. Unlike conventional dentures, though, all-on-four dentures never slip out of place or allow food to become trapped. Eating, drinking, talking, laughing, and even singing is the same with all-on-four as they are with your natural teeth. 

Dental implants and all-on-four are permanent solutions to missing teeth. Because it is permanent, you cannot remove an all-on-four denture yourself. Your dentist can, though. 

For more information on the different types of dentures, consult with Las Cruces Dental solutions. We are a full-service dental practice in Las Cruces, and have several dentists who are available to see you. Our dental team is glad to help you decide which type of denture may be right for you. Contact Las Cruces Dental Solutions today by calling (575) 527-4746 or by filling out the online form.

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